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Belarus: 400th anniversary of icon of Mother of God

July 08, 2013

Pope Francis appointed Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, as his legate to the National Shrine of the Mother of God in Budslau, Belarus, to commemorate the fourth centenary of the arrival of the Marian icon there.

“Having been placed in the wooden church, the icon from the very beginning was honored by common faithful people; it became famous for its miracles and mercies, and in 1635 was transferred into the main altar,” the Church in Belarus notes on its web site. “The first miracle was recorded in 1617 when a five-year old boy Yazafat Tyshkevich, who later became a famous Carmelite father, regained the ability to see.”

Cardinal Tauran met with President Alexander Lukashenko on July 4 before celebrating Mass at the shrine on July 6 and at the cathedral in Minsk on July 7.

Located in Eastern Europe, the nation of 10 million gained its independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991. The Catholic Church in Belarus now has four dioceses, 628 parishes, 480 priests, 314 sisters, and 129 seminarians.

Belarus is 80% Orthodox and 14% Catholic.


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